Pilates: The Workout for People Who Hate Working Out
Love exercising? No? This one's for you.
As a pilates studio owner, I see lots of pilates and fitness related “stuff” on social media. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are jam packed with impossibly fit and athletic bodies using professional (or, ahem, air brushed) photography to put their best image forward.
So, what if you’re not a lithe 22-year-old ballerina? What if you’ve never owned a pair of Lululemon pants? What if it has been so long since you worked out, you’re wondering “what’s out there for me?” Perhaps you are like many people who have a back or knee injury, and exercise is so painful that it just moves WAY down the priority list in the grand scope of your life. Will Pilates still work for you?
Maybe it’s the false advertising and the mystery of what happens on those crazy looking pilates machines, but it seems that the people who would enjoy pilates the most (the NON-exercising crowd) are kept away. The overarching feeling I get from people who are gutsy enough to walk though my doors in the first place is the belief that everyone else but them is somehow a pilates expert. Of course this is not the case, but it does cause a lot of anxiety!
Ok, I get it. You’re inexperienced. Uncoordinated. Not flexible. Hate working out. Believe it or not, I have heard this a few times before.
Let me first say that I have been there. In grade school I hid myself in the locker room in PE class--I had never played a sport and had zero hand-eye coordination (still don’t). In my 20s I was an avid cigarette smoker who got winded walking up the stairs. On top of that I had two neck injuries to deal with. There was a time when I couldn’t lift myself an inch off the floor in a backbend.
Discovering pilates at my gym was a transformational experience for me. I enjoyed it from the first class. It began to shape my body in a noticeable way, and it changed the way I moved. It took years off my body. I began to really WANT to take care of myself. I LIKED how I felt.
For the vast majority, Pilates is fun, not grueling. No sweat dripping out of your eyeballs. You don’t need to do it like a maniac for it to work its magic. Seriously. The class literally flies by.
Add to that the bonus of the injury rehab being built right into the method. My neck pain and overall flexibility improved significantly. I have seen thousands of people have this experience with Pilates, which is why I love teaching it so much.
I personally think that fitness marketing to the masses is appalling---with the promise of “torching calories” and the old “harder is better” mentality. There is a misguided idea in this culture that somehow a more painful workout will translate into better results and therefore a more perfect body. Maybe it’s my sense of injustice about lying to people, but I refuse to promise an unrealistic result and prefer to keep things honest.
Pilates is surprisingly enjoyable. It does actually get you toned and more flexible, reduce aches and pains, and helps you move with more youth and vitality. Yes, you will also have to work for it. And no, it does not magically melt inches off your body without an equal effort from you in your kitchen at home.
After working with many people, I can tell you which clients I enjoy the most. These are the ones who are going to experience the wonder of discovering their new abilities, muscles they didn’t know they had. Their goals involve having more energy for their families, or to take back their life after surgery or back pain. I love watching people go from being completely unfit to happily active. These are average people who formerly hated working out and have now found something they actually enjoy and can stick with.
Pilates has a way of converting people. If you are out of shape, injured, or just generally resist the idea of working out, my doors are open to you—especially you! No matter where you start, I’m convinced that Pilates will work for you too.
About the author: Stephanie Evans is the owner of Purely Pilates and lover of all things Pilates. She is a certified pilates instructor (Physicalmind, 2003), yoga instructor, ELDOA Practitioner and fitness enthusiast who has helped thousands of people discover their Mind-body connection through Pilates.
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